“China has taken a big initiative, unlike New Zealand and Australia, to get into STEAM education,” Din tells EducationHQ.
A New Zealand Government who is merely paying “lip service” to a serious move towards STEAM learning has taken the education sector from being a leader in innovation, to one which is stuck in the industrial age, Din says.
“The parents who were born in the '80s and '90s, they want their children to get into STEAM education,” he says.
“And the curriculum we are teaching nowadays - we have NCEA and UE exams and those kind of things at A level - all those work to prepare people for certain jobs for the industrial purposes.”
Over the years, Din says he has experienced a reluctance among NZ teachers to step out of their subject area silos, leaving students ill-prepared for a future where they will likely work in several different professions over their lifetime.
“So these parents are the ones who have actually twisted the arms of the big governments and made them to think about changing the face of education.
“It is a big move and the Chinese Government, unlike ours, have gone with it and they have set aside billions.”
China, he says, is hungry for STEAM education.
“There are many hurdles - teachers are one of them - but educational authorities and school leaders see a brighter future in STEAM learning and they are gearing towards starting up at least one STEAM class, by all means, in their schools.”
Din has been producing dual STEAM lessons, live streaming twice a week from Auckland to China, for almost two years.
During his recent visit, the educator had the opportunity to visit schools and meet with leaders to discuss further collaboration.
He hopes his fellow educators and politicians alike start to follow China’s lead and make a serious commitment to STEAM before it’s too late.
“Things cannot be done on snail speed. They have to be done with ... urgency.”